(This article previously appeared on Grandparents.com.)
Some people are just plain unlucky in the mosquito bite department. While some species of mosquitoes, like Culex, are attracted to the carbon dioxide all humans exhale, other species have a special attraction for certain people’s sweat and body odor — and that’s determined by a roll of the genetic dice.
“Body odors are emitted because of bacteria that are digesting the oils on your skin,” says Joe Conlon, technical adviser to the American Mosquito Control Association and former Navy entomologist for 20 years. “Some odors are particularly attractive to mosquitoes; it’s genetically based.”
Another factor that affects your bite risk: skin color. “It tends to be worse for people with pale skin,” Conlon says. You also may have heard that people with O-positive blood are more susceptible to mosquito bites. Untrue, he says. “Once they land and start probing your skin, they won’t give a darn about your blood type,” Conlon notes.
If you’re prone to mosquito bites, Conlon offers these proven strategies in the slideshow below for reducing your chances of being some mosquito’s next meal:
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